09 October, 2012

The End of the Summer

Family vacation.
It's something that has happened every year since Nephew One was born.
After the summer officially ends, after the lifeguards and exchange students and families have packed up and headed back to reality, we slip quietly in.
My parents rent a house on the beach, and me, my sister, her husband, and two little boys happily help them fill all of the empty guest bedrooms.
There is nothing to do, nowhere to be.
Mornings are spent watching the sun rise, my mom and her oldest grandson wrapped in a blanket singing "Here Comes the Sun."
Breakfast is leisurely and often sugary. We watch the dolphins swim by while we finish the last of the coffee.
The days are spent on the beach, wrapped in layers if it's cloudy and cool; otherwise soaking up every last warm ray of post-summer sun.
Books we started reading months before get finished, as do the new ones just begun.
Nephew One pretends to be a pirate, a crab, a tractor moving piles of sand.
Nephew Two is still too little to pretend, he is instead content digging, splashing, and running after sea gulls.
At noon, a church bell rings. We call it the Beer Bell.
It is a signal to gather all of the towels and the toys into one pile and head in for lunch.
Naps happen.
For babies and adults alike.
As the sun sets, we need a stretch from our lazy day.
New wiffle ball rules are made: double points for hitting a beached crab or fish; triple points for an air-borne sea gull.
Cartwheels are done in the outfield.
Nobody wins.
Nobody loses.
Dinner is a poorly choreographed ballet of too many people around a too small stove, conducted and danced in our pajamas, sun-kissed skin and sandy hair.
Nephew One loves the dinner time jammie parties.
And the sleeping parties he has with his little brother, the two sharing a room for the first time ever.
Nights are spent playing Candy Land, checkers, and Vacation Rummy.
But only after we watch the moon come up, and the stars and planets twinkle.
We scatter on sofas and chairs and fall asleep, one by one.
We sleep early. We wake early.
We are lucky for this time.
We are happy.
And we will hope to do it all again next fall.

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